Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Independent, Fee-Only Financial Advisor

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The Coast of my childhood is in shambles. I closed the office down yesterday around 10:30 when I noticed the wind kicking up. I made a dash to fill up my tank to prepare for the coming storm. By this time, the winds were already so strong that I could barely stand. At about 2 pm, the power went out. We sat quietly and listened to the howling wind and driving rain. As we endured this monster storm three hours away from the shoreline, I wondered what it was like for those people who were only a few miles away when Hurricane Katrina came ashore. Frantically, we tried to contact my family... a sister and her grown children in Ocean Springs, my parents in Gulfport. I tried to get them to leave, but they were convinced, having survived Camille, that they were safe. As the hours passed with no word, I was not so sure. Finally, the connection was made. One by one, we got word. They were all safe. We breathed a sigh of relief. Then we started to see the pictures of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It's stunning. So many lives lost. So many people displaced. So much devastation. I can barely comprehend the effects of this natural disaster. Of course, the price of oil is already starting to rise, even as the flood waters recede. But I don't seem to care. This event gave new meaning to Black Monday. Dow -50.23 NASDAQ -7.89 S&P 500 -3.87

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday and Another Storm Brewing

It's the end of the week, and the markets decided to end on a down note. As Katrina churns in the Gulf, stocks and oil prices wait to see the outcome. Today, Mr. Greenspan put a damper on stocks with all his talk of overheating and too much risk-taking. When Mr. Greenspan talks, Wall Street listens. August is almost over, and I say "good riddance." The NASDAQ was the hardest hit, dropping more than 1/2% today. I'm ready to get back on the winning track. Dow -53.34 NASDAQ -13.60 S&P 500 -7.27

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's Really Thursday

Katrina has been upgraded to a hurricane. My favorite site for tracking these tropical storms is You can look at satellite pictures and models predicting the path of the storm. Any hurricane that heads into the Gulf of Mexico makes oil producers nervous. As if gas prices aren't high enough, now the weather may result in even higher prices. Markets were ho-hum today, gaining slightly. Dow +15.76 NASDAQ +5.46 S&P 500 +2.78

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Wednesday's News

As oil hit new highs today, the housing market left little doubt that it was not cooling off yet. Housing sales jumped 6.5% while demand for mortgage-backed securities remain strong. On the automotive side of things, Ford's debt was downgraded to "junk" , while oil closed at $67.32/barrel. So far the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has not decided what to do with the military bases in Mississippi yet. Dow -84.71 Nasdaq -8.34 S&P -8.0

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bursting the Bubble

A possible cooling in the red-hot housing market brought the market down as investors were concerned about mortgage and consumer lending. Both Pier 1 and La-Z-Boy reported falling sales, while Williams Sonoma managed to report increased earnings. Pharmaceuticals continued to take a hit from the aftermath of the Merck trial. DOW -50.31 NASDAQ -4.16 S&P - 4.14

Monday, August 22, 2005


Markets were very typical of the summer months with low trading volumes and tight trading ranges. Maytag accepted Whirlpool's $1.7 buyout offer, which may not get antitrust approval. Oil prices continued to be high, closing at $65.45/barrel, up $0.10. And China has bought an oil producer based in Canada for more than $4 billion. Dow +10.66 Nasdaq +5.85 S&P +2.02

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hot Friday

It's the end of the week in August in Mississippi, and it's hot, hot, hot. 100+ temperatures every day are the norm. The heat has everything drooping, from my impatiens to my hairdo. Stocks are experiencing a kind of droop, as well. July was a great month for the market, but August has been lackluster. Today produced flat markets, with big companies gaining slightly and the NASDAQ dipping only a tiny bit. It's the end of summer, and I'm tired of summer reruns. I'm ready for a breath of fresh air in all areas. Networks are gearing up for the fall season. If the make believe world doesn't excite you, try the boardroom. Boring Mass Mutual's boardroom resembled the set of a soap opera this week. Dow +4.30 NASDAQ -0.52 S&P 500 +0.69

Thursday, August 18, 2005

For Sale

Markets were mixed due to sluggish economic reports and constant worries over oil's effects on growth. Google announced it was going to sell 14 million shares for general purposes, while fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger put itself on the auction block in an attempt to expand its business. Dow +4.22 Nasdaq -9.07 S&P -1.22

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mid Week

Markets added modestly today. Of course, this came with a dip in oil prices. One company greatly affected by oil prices, UPS, announced a big order of airplanes. This seems to point to future economic growth. The shipping business must be good. Dow +37.26 NASDAQ +8.09 S&P 500 +0.90

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Spoke Too Soon

Monday's good start was wiped out today, and the market took "stock" of Wal Mart's report. The giant reported tepid increases and blamed high gasoline prices for the lower spending at its stores. I have another theory. Consumers, despite gasoline prices, have more money in their pockets and are opting for higher end shopping experiences, like Target or Walgreens. You know, someplace they can actually get service. Of course, that's just a theory. Markets tumbled more than 1% on this news, which could be just overreaction. Dow -120.93 NASDAQ -29.98 S&P 500 -14.53

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Good Start

The week started good for markets, as oil dipped slightly. As the kiddies head back to school, demand for oil should ease. It's time to make runs to the soccer fields instead of runs to Florida. The economy continues to post solid numbers. Higher incomes mean higher tax revenues. The deficit is getting some much needed help from the upturn. Will it be enough? Delta airlines is looking at bankruptcy proceedings. The stable, old line will have to regroup to compete. Dow +34.07 NASDAQ +10.14 S&P 500 +3.48

Friday, August 12, 2005


A week of rising oil prices sent markets in retreat. Oil topped $67 a barrel. Companies dependent on oil, such as FedEx and Southwest Airlines, are locking in their costs by purchasing futures contracts. Will the price continue to climb or will it settle down to more reasonable levels? The futures markets say the climb will continue. Real estate is showing signs of slowing down, as inventory levels rise. Despite this, houses are getting bigger. Read about the McMansions in the Wall Street Journal. A shower for 4?? What next? Dow -85.58 NASDAQ -17.65 S&P 500 -7.42 I'm ready for the weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dr. Freud, Please...

Markets are displaying a bit of split personality syndrome. Oil jumped over $66 per barrel, yet stocks made nice gains on the day, adding about 3/4%. The retail sales report was good. Tax revenues increased 5.7% in July over July of last year. Even accounting for the back to school shopping surge, retail is improving. Consumers have more money to burn, and they're doing it in style. Target issued an especially good earnings report, and, I'm happy to add, I know I added personally to those numbers! My new office is full of merchandise from one of my favorites, "Tarjay." Projections are for the to Fed in continue raising rates until they hit the 4.5% mark (1.0% from now). I don't get it... rising interest rates, soaring oil prices, and stocks continue to gain. Gotta love it! Dow +91.48 NASDAQ +16.74 S&P 500 +8.68

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Say It Ain't So!

Krispy Kreme has been sugarcoating its numbers, along with its doughnuts! My memories of those sweet confections has been tainted. If you can't trust Krispy Kreme, who can you trust? Oil continues its climb, matching the marching of the Fed. Markets responded negatively, with the NASDAQ being the hardest hit. WorldCom's former employees keep making the news with their prison sentences, David Myers being the latest. I'll be waiting for the September sentencing of the kingpin, Scott Sullivan.

Dow -21.26

NASDAQ -16.38

S&P 500 -2.25

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Keep it Coming

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 25 basis points today to 3.5%, which surprised few. Oil dropped 87 cents per barrel today to close at $63.07, which fueled the market to cover some of the previous three days of losses. Hope the good economic news continues to come and boost the markets. Dow +78.74 Nasdaq + 9.80 S&P +8.25

Monday, August 08, 2005

Market is Moody on Oil

The stock market was down today as oil prices hit highs near $64 a barrel, which are the highest ever. Bond markets were down while acquistion rumors bouyed the market for a short time. It was the third straight day markets were down. DOW -21.20 NASDAQ -13.52 S&P -3.29

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Friday Close

The markets stayed their course for the day. Despite good economic reports and good earnings reports, the loss was about 1/2% across the board. Maybe the traders are taking their last vacation and gearing up for the final quarter of 2005. Dow -52.07 NASDAQ -13.41 S&P 500 -9.44

Friday, August 05, 2005

Falling Down on the Job

This move is killing me! It's the end of the first week in the new place, and I'm starting to play catch up. My blogging has been hit or miss. Please excuse my delinquency. Yesterday was a down day on Wall Street, even with nothing but good news. This morning, that trend is continuing, as we give back about 1/2% across the board. The jobs report was great this morning, adding 207,000 new jobs to the economy. The magic number to indicate growth is 150,000, so what gives? Maybe, stocks are just taking a breather... sort of like me!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Wednesday Sneakers

Oil actually dropped a bit today, despite news of further unrest overseas. In business, the big news was Addidas' announcement of a takeover of Reebok. They are trying to compete with Nike... just do it. First the cola wars, now the sneaker wars. Nasdaq slipped a little today, while the big guys gained. This was a flip flop (no pun intended). Dow +13.85 NASDAQ -1.34 S&P 500 +0.92

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Transitioning Tuesdays

Still trying to get completely situated in the new office. Who would have thought that getting a business license would require so much. Unemployment is at its lowest levels in 4 years, auto sales continued to show growth thanks to employee pricing, and another company settled a multi-billion dollar lawsuit related to the Enron scandal. Dow +60.59 S&P +8.77 Nasdaq +22.77

Monday, August 01, 2005

WHEW! Moving Monday.

I'm in my new space. The moving men arrived on Friday, and, wow, what a day. I spent the weekend sorting through boxes and hanging pictures. I love the new place, but the boxes are still blocking the hallway. My first Monday started with no phone service. After a tense phone call, the guys showed up and fixed my problem. Markets were mixed today, as oil passed the $61 mark. Dow -17.76 NASDAQ +10.55 S&P 500 +1.17